So many people look forward to May. The beginning of summer, the end of cold weather and flowers blooming everywhere. Unless you have school-age children. Then it's the month we all dread. Your kids have had enough and now insist that the speed of molasses is all they can muster. Their school shoes and backpacks are on their last legs, but you refuse to buy more. "You will wear those foul smelling, duct taped atrocities till they take their last breath." Teachers and parents are at the end of their ropes, and both annoyed with each other. One wants nothing more than to give your children back and the other wants you to keep them. Standardized testing has everybody tied up in knots.
Oh, the insane amounts of paperwork coming home. Drowned in a sea of permission slips and school function announcements. The endless speed races across town because somebody forgot their slip, lunch, towel or project. How the hell do they not remember the fun things? Homework I get, we all wish we could forget about homework. You would think they waterslides and pizza parties would be burned on their brain.
If you have multiple children, then you know the pain of the end of the year awards and performances. It's all or nothing. Go to the one, you have to go to them all. I know if I miss one I will be sitting across from my child who is shackled to a table with a prison guard watching our every move. As I ask through a stream of tears “How could you do this? What went wrong?” She will look up at me and say, “Remember in the 4th grade when you missed my Countries Performance? Because I will never forget it.” One day I will be watching True Crimes, and there she is explaining her path to crime, “It all started when I sat there in my Rainbowfish costume while all the other parents cheered on the book parade, but not me - I was the fish alone, circling the tank.”
The elementary school end of year performances are my test as a parent. I’ve seen so many I can sing the songs word for word. They cram us all in a cafeteria made for tiny people. You have two choices: squeeze yourself into the benches, sandwiched between anxious parents and aggravated toddlers or stand against the wall where you will become more uncomfortable as each minute passes. Every parent is there to see just their kid, so we can fiercely wave at them to let them know you have not failed as a parent. Let's be honest, we all think to ourselves, “I waved can I leave now? Will they notice if I am gone?” Most of us don't have any interest in seeing anybody else's kid. I have my own and that's enough. It’s okay, I know you don’t care if my kid hit their reading goal and I don’t care that yours ran the most laps.
As the 100th child comes up to make the announcements, (just in case your wondering small children are not the best public speakers) I wonder if this is how the teachers get us back. Do they plan it thinking:
“Remember all the times I had to interrupt my day because you forgot to check their take-home folder?”
“When you thought, hey they aren’t that sick and then I had to clean up vomit now covering my entire cubby corner.”
“How about that time you blamed me for that C knowing full well you were not going over their homework.”
“For the thousands of times I have heard, but little Sammy is so good at home.”
Probably not the case but I would have mad respect for them if it were. If making me play human bumper cars trying to get a picture of my kid singing Alphabet Soup was your payback, well then mad props teacher. I don’t know how y’all do it. Summer is only two months and I am ready to commit myself just for a break.
I know I will miss all these shows and permission slips when they are gone which is why I will stand in the back of that cafeteria every year wondering if I could still get in trouble for taking an extra milk. Prepping my now numb legs to bum rush the crowd of parents clambering to get a close up of their precious angel singing their vowel solo. I will stand in the corner of the even tinier classroom wondering how the hell it takes someone thirty minutes to eat a cupcake. Teachers deal with this for ten months out of the year and still manage to have a smile on their face. I can shut my trap for an hour and try to appreciate all the work that went into teaching my kid how to sing the long a and short a without crumbling into a fit throwing mess.
So thank you to all those teachers that get up every morning to confront not one ball of exhausting, irrational cuteness but 30 of them. Enjoy your break because I guarantee no matter how many parents were bitching last year they will be there with bells on to watch their precious angels roll out of the car back into your care.
*side note - of all of the above offenses, accusing teachers of being responsible for my child's low grades or lousy behavior are not mine. Now the other ones I will plead the fifth.